Ah, Paris. The City of Lights offers many delights – and many of them at a high cost. Budget travellers need not write off a visit to this gorgeous city, however. Entrance fees for Paris’s most famous monuments and museums are easily balanced out with the city’s plethora of inexpensive pleasures. Read on for ideas for enjoy this magical city on a budget.
Wander and Wonder
Paris is steeped in history and culture – and much of it can be experienced free of admission fees. It’s a simple as taking a stroll. Escape the bustle of the city and get lost in the peaceful stretches of Cimetere Père Lachaise. While you’re there, see how many famous names you can spot on the gravestones; the outpouring of tributes on Oscar Wilde’s memorial is particularly moving. Take a long stroll along the Seine and find yourself meandering right through the heart of Paris. Along the way, stop into the Notre Dame Cathedral, feast your eyes with the colors of the Marche aux Fleurs (a flower market), or smile at the quirkiness of the “love locks” adorning many of the bridges – and that’s all just for starters. Soak up the art-steeped quaintness of Montmartre, finishing with stunning, Eiffel Tower-rivaling views of Paris from the top of Sacre Coeur. And of course, don’t forget the Champs Elysees. While the shops on this celebrated street are high end, window-shopping is free, and the walk from the Arc de Triomphe to Place de la Concorde is a truly iconic Parisian experience.
Faire Un Pique-nique
While dining in Paris can be expensive, it’s easy to enjoy a delicious French meal without breaking the bank. Pick up a fresh baked baguette, some cheese, and a cheap bottle of wine and enjoy dining al fresco. Enhance the experience by picking up your fare from one of Paris’s many food markets. Particularly popular is the Rue Mouffetard, where you can find specialty shops featuring delicious cheese, pastry, fish, meat, and wine alongside a wide variety of vibrant produce. Bon appétit!
Paris offers a wide variety of opportunities to see street performers in action, often with famous scenes casting a memorable backdrop. A favorite place for students to gather, the square at Centre Pompidou is a good place to find buskers at work. The areas around Sacre Coeur are also a favorite stage for the city’s performance artists, as is the tourist-teeming area around the Arc de Triomphe. Throughout the city, you’ll find an exciting mix of talents, from your usual street musicians and human statues to soccer ball jugglers and didgeridoo players. As you enjoy, be sure to watch your pockets – pickpockets occasionally take advantage of the crowds surrounding street performers.
It’s The Little Things
Think small, and you’ll be able to color your Parisian experience with lots of little wonderfully enjoyable moments. Indulge in a few brightly colored macarons from a patisserie case, or select a delectable pain au chocolat (chocolate croissant) for breakfast. Sip café au lait, people watch, and imagine you’re a famous writer from your table at a Montmartre sidewalk café. Watch the sunset over the Eiffel Tower and gasp as it comes alight for the evening. Soak up the opulence of Angelina’s while sipping their famously rich hot chocolate. Unique pleasures abound in Paris’s simple things – all you have to do is seek them out.